Finally, the building phase had begun. We have been working towards this moment for a (too) long time now. After researching and designing for almost three months we are in for some honest physical labour. But before we were able to start excavating we needed to measure out the foundation. Lucky for us the family invited some friends of theirs who had sufficient building experience. They started to measure at an incredible pace, and we were blindsided by the speed they were working at. Corné lost track of what exactly happened and started to parade aimlessly until he regained control over the measuring. After all measuring was done we started digging the trench with the oh so helpful daughters of the family. But of course we underestimated how much effort it would take to dig this foundation.
The day after we were joined by two fundi’s the family arranged, Timo and Johnston. We officially opened the building site by receiving the blessings from a priest of a nearby church.
Timo and Johnston did not seemed bothered by the intensity of the work and started ploughing through the foundation trench. Next to the fundi’s joining we had Dan who came home just to help us digging, and Dan was even faster than the two fundi’s combined. We lost sight of him for a short while and when we came back we discovered that he had gone too deep already.
Next to having a really fun time building we also had to think about the research. Michiel came by one day and pointed out how we should/could do this last but important step of the support. This step is focussed on knowledge transfer, which in short means that we teach the people here a new way of building to hopefully improve their current living standard.
Transferring knowledge was a blast because especially the children of the family were really curious to learn all about measuring. And we are getting a lot of positive feedback from the locals who come to visit. We insisted on them visiting and joining us to learn the ins and outs of our new building technique. All of them seem interested but only a few show up the day after and most of them just to watch. In the first week we only got one local who actually came to help us.
Exchanging knowledge doesn’t mean that we are just teaching them, because they have way more experience in building in this type of environment. For example we were hammering on the fact that we needed a spirit level, but Timo and Johnston came to save the day. They had a way to use a transparent hose to make sure the foundation trench was level.
The joy was quickly swept away by the fact that there was a height difference of over 40cm in the area we are trying to build. This made us lose a lot of time on digging, and we could not finish the foundation as soon as we had hoped. A very good start of the building phase, I would say.
We decided to soften the pain to go out to drink in Soko Mjinga. We had a nice bonding moment with our workers who deserved a nice night out, to prepare them for the next week of hard work.